Saturday, July 10, 2010

Homeward Bound

It was time to fly home. It is an inborn instinct to make the hazardous journey and follow their instincts and fly the path they know so well.

Yearly, many nature enthusiasts gather at the Tanjung Tuan Reserve, Melaka to look skyward as the migratory raptors (birds of prey) fly over this rest spot. They soar on the thermals to save on energy. Up, up and away to cries of oohhs and aahhs. The people down below 'inspect' them on their binoculars. Others shade off the sun's rays and scan the sky. Somewhere in the crowd are the bird counters. They keep a tally of the visitors and give us the grand total of our feathered friends. Facts and figures are important markers of conservation.

Welcome to our VIP visitors

My husband, daughter and I made this special trip to be at the 11th annual Raptors Watch (13 -15 March) jointly organised by the Malaysian Nature Soc (MNS) and the Malacca state government. Kudos to them for this eco event which is proving to be an event much awaited in raising awareness on the conservation of raptors and their habitats and at the same time encouraging nature -linked activities around Tanjung Tuan Reserve.

The importance of Tanjung Tuan cannot be overstated as the headland is the closest landmass to Indonesia and Sumatra. Tanjung Tuan is ideally situated for the birds to have a stop over for rest and food before flying off north to their breeding grounds in temperate Asia.

We timed ourselves to be in there around 10 am as the best time to watch the raptors is between 11am to 3 pm. Not only were the birds there to wow us but an old friend, affectionately called Uncle Foo who taught me the ropes of birding was also there. Not forgetting, Ee Lynn, who was the livewire emcee . Imagine, having the honour to shout ( yes, shout !) out the arrival of the raptors.

Other booths like the Perhilitan Melaka kept us engrossed . Again, the conservation message rings clear - vote in the Wildlife Conservation Act 2010 to replace the outdated Wildlife Protection Act 1972 for stiffer penalties to be enforced for poaching and wildlife crimes.

The spring raptor migration begins in mid February and lasts till April. So, come second week in March 2011, keep my fingers crossed, I'll be at Tanjung Tuan to see the birds homeward bound.

One of the' darlings' that visit us - Crested Honey Buzzard. Picture courtesy of Laurence Poh.
Other raptors include the brahminy kite, black baza, white -bellied sea-eagle, and more.

Celebrating birds on tee shirts

Take your pick - oriole, mynah, bulbul, sparrow

Let your spirit soar too!

There's a place in my heart for the birds

I bought a booklet on garden birds and am all the wiser knowing them now!

Volunteers with eager youths after the nature walk.

RAP it up! Birds rulz! We're backing you all the way!

Limbo low - it was also fun time. Good thing the birds don't fly so low as they are safer on higher ground !

Our beloved tapir - still going strong .


  1. Awesome creature. Thanks for sharing. Will certainly make a tour during one of the seasons.

  2. Hey, great post, Keats, thanks! I believe this year's was the 11th Raptor Watch, because the first was in 2000. The bird stencils were awesome, were they not? And the face-painter... Patricia Zahara...what talent! Love the photo of hubby and daughter at the RAP-tor backdrop! The birders say that during their annual raptor watching trip to Chumphon, Thailand, the birds fly so low you can almost touch them! The viewing place is so high up that sometimes you could see the backs of the birds below you! So... any plans to go to Thailand with the Bird Group in Oct? :)

  3. Hi
    Thomas C B Chua, do join this great eco - tourism event.

    ~Covert_Operations'78~, thanks for the correction. I'll get it done after this! Yay! we love the tee shirts , bought one each for my daughters. So, one has flown to the UK too!! hey!, that's me lah with hubby - beneath the cap. Have to stay grounded here - not a serious birder at all.

  4. Great post Keats. I have heard of the migratory season (like many of your posts, I have heard but...) but wouldn't have known how to get to it. The bird shown is awesome. I wonder if they could be witnessed from the water. Looks like a fun day too and very well organised.

  5. This post is more than great - it's important and wish people around the globe will read it.
    It's us, human beings, who can protect the wild life on our planet. Our actions are the destiny of all sorts of animals - in good or bad...
    Thanks for sharing!
    Have a great Sunday!


  6. Awesome, Keats! Thanks for sharing this.

    Have a nice day!

  7. i will definitely go there.tq for hoghlighting

  8. Very interesting and nice photographs.

  9. Hi
    Ocean Girl, come join the enhusiasts and all for another great event next year. If the birds are in sight, above you , on water or land,we should be able to see them.

    BLOGitse, thanks so much! i agree, it's up to us to conserve and preserve.

    Veronica Lee, yes, it was another great event. watch out for the event next year.

    xplorer, yay! bring the family.

    RAJI MUTHUKRISHNAN, thanks so much for coming by.

  10. I learned something new today. I was introduced to real raptors and not our Toronto basketball team. Thanks. I an so glad.Your post is very charming!

  11. What a wonderful thing! Amazing birds, they just travel so far!

  12. You take part of of so many wonderful and exciting activities. There must never be a boring moment in your life.
    Raptors are not really my thing, but I can see how they interest other people. They are magnificent creatures.

  13. Hi
    Matron,thanks for coming by. Wonderful event too!

    Anne Lyken-Garner,life has certainly been good.Am lucky to be able to enjoy many kinds of activities. I wish for more!It would be hard to go caving etc with my folks. Wild horses wouldn't drag them there!!

  14. Keats,
    I love those raptors! Such spectacular birds!
    The face painting is interesting.

  15. Such a great activity and wonderful way to spend time and take care of nature too.

  16. Hi
    Rosey, I haven't tried face painting. someone will have to pin me down !!

    Indrani, yay! when the day is sunny and there's the raptors to watch flying on the thermals, it's great. no guarantee to see raptors as we wait!!

  17. The face painting looks like so much fun! Raptors are majestic creatures.

  18. Majestic birds.. will be looking into this in case I ever do go Malacca; right timing, of course!

  19. Very nice and educational outing. I think the face painting of birds are fantastic. Regarding your question on Batam, you can go on a one day tour. See my travel blog.

  20. Hi
    Gran, good to have you back!

    AJ7, will it be school hols then?

    alicesg, yay!i have to get one done one of these days. thanks for the answer to Batam island.

  21. What an incredible adventure and experience.;) It is good to travel but it is also good to come home.;))

  22. I didn't know about Tanjung Tuan and the significance of this place for birds. It's good that the government steps in on this eco project. I wish more can be done to preserve and help wildlife and the environment, We are killing away our natural resources and the ecosystem that is part of it.

  23. Hi
    Zuzana,yes, a resting place like Tanjung Tuan helps the migratory birds to make a safer journey home.

    Rosebelle, Tanjung Tuan is there for all and it it the hard committed work of the MNS and individuals who have fought for its rightful place to be a place of conservation.

  24. So cool! What a wonderful event!

  25. Keats hat off! Your blog is full of life, colorful with sunshine. You and family have a very enriching life, love em great stuff..tQ

  26. Hi
    Bossy Betty, we have to be patient for this event and lucky too - wait for the raptors to appear. Then we give them a ooohh... aaahhh send off!!

    Bananaz, thanks so much for your kind remarks. Hope you're keeping well. sorry for not being regular at your blog. Do get to the event when it's on next year and make it an eco outing :)

  27. What a wonderful, interesting and exciting event! I really enjoyed this wonderful post and the photos you shared with us.

  28. Hi
    MedaM, thanks for coming by. MNS and Malacca state are to be applauded for this fantastic public event.

  29. It must have been a wonderful event to watch these graceful raptors homeward bound. I wish there was a place like this to get the kids more closer to nature.


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